Wednesday, December 11, 2013

PAC Museum: Pirates or Privateers?

Pirates or Privateers?
Pirates ou corsaires?

Point-à-Callière Museum's New  Permanent Exhibition

The Montreal's Point-à-Callière Museum (PAC) has just inaugurated it's new permanent exhibition Pirates or Privateers? It is housed in the Old Custom House now named J. Armand Bombardier Foundation Building thanks to the foundation's generous $1 million donation.

This exhibition is geared largely to children, to school and family visitors. The most prominent exhibit is the large scale replica of a ship from the Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville's flotilla. Read more about the ship capitain, explorer and and adventurer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, who was also a founder of the French colony of Louisiana of New France here.

This exhibition spotlights the a historical period of the New France. It offers a unique experience and brings to life the world of Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville who was at the time a Montréal  privateer. It is set during the Franco-British war in the late 17th - early 18th century and offers young visitors a chance of playing: to serve on an armed vessel, manned by individuals in possession of an authorization from the King of France to attack enemy trade ships, mainly English ships.

Pirates and privateers, often mistaken for one another, dealt with similar tasks. One group worked legitimately while the other didn’t. Privateers were sailors on armed civilian ships. In times of war, they were authorized by their government with a “letter of marque” to attack any ship, especially a merchant one flying an enemy flag, and claim their goods as war retribution. 

Pirates, however, were sea-adventurers who attacked trade ships and stole their cargo, sometimes also attacking small seaside towns. Pirates are generally considered to be sea bandits.

On display are historical-period items of military as well as of everyday use.

One can also see the sailor's living conditions as well as the type of food available to them. To see better the sailors' daily menu and rations, click on the lower right image to enlarge it.

There is also a short video of a sea battle projected on a screen, which the children present at the exhibition's opening very much appreciated.

Visit the Point-à-Callière Museum's website for more information.

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